About Lake PehoeA turquoise jewel sitting just beneath the iconic Paine Massif, Lake Pehoé will take any visitor’s breath away. The glacial water brought into the lake by the Paine river looks painted as it changes with the rising and setting sun from teals to purples to ambers.
It is no wonder this awe-inspiring view has caught the eye of travel guides and tourists alike— most recently claiming a spot on the Huffington Post Travel list of the twenty most beautiful lakes in the world.
The lake may not be the easiest to get to, but as the Huffington Post explains, the trip is worth the travel: “It takes a few long plane rides and a bumpy transfer on mostly dirt roads to get to Pehoe Lake in Chilean Patagonia, but the magnificence th The Natural Monument Penguins
There are few guarantees while traveling. Your flight could be delayed. Your hotel might not look as modern and luxurious as it did in photos. Or the weather could derail any outdoor plans. But one thing is certain on your trip to Chile. You will definitely see penguins in Los Pingüinos Natural Monument.
The Penguins Natural Monument is home to about 60,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins. It’s, unsurprisingly, Chile’s largest penguin colony. Magellanic penguins, named after the famous explorer after he spotted the black-and-white flightless birds in 1520, are only found along the southern coast of South America. From October to March (that’s spring and summer below the equator), the penguins find land on which to breed. Two islands, Magdalena and Marta, are among their favorite spots.
The two islands were once home to three pre-Hispanic cultures. They left when the Spanish introduced sheep and colonization here. The farms, probably due to the harsh conditions, didn’t last. So the penguins moved in. In 1966, the islands were declared a natural monument to protect the penguins and their fishing grounds in the surrounding waters. As conservation efforts increased, so did the penguin population. The birds now rule the islands.
A visit to Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is now one of the most popular day trips from Punta Arenas. From the capital of Chile’s southernmost region, it’s a 50-minute ferry ride through the Strait of Magellan to reach the islands. You might see gray-and-white Commerson’s dolphins along the way. As you approach Magdalena Island, you will definitely hear the penguins before you can see them. Once you're close enough though, the two-foot birds look like they cover the entire island.
The lake is frequented by local guanacos - cute camelids who graze on the grasses and native flora along Lago Pehoé’s edges. Lucky visitors might also spot ñandus or rheas - indigenous flightless birds, similar in appearance to an ostrich - or perhaps even a magnificent Chilean Condor soaring above with its iconic and impressive wings spread point to point. The majestic national bird is a favorite among tourists and locals alike and the park is one of its preferred habitats.
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Lago Pehoe, Parque Nacional Torres del PaineView Larger Map